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Friday, 19 September 2008

USAID representative playing politics

Tedla Asfaw

Micheal Hess of U.S. Agency for International Development(USAID)'s Bureau of Democracy,Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance after five days tour in the Somali region of Ogaden declared that "there is no  famine in Ethiopia this year". How is he sure about that only  after traveling in a restricted area  escorted by government aid workers that he praised as one of the main reasons beside communication that prevented famine for this year ?

Michael Hess himself said it is only 41 percent of the people in Ogaden that received the aid and it is amazing to come out with "No Famine This Year" believing his own figure that more than sixty percent of people have not received food aid.  Or maybe he subscribed to the plan of starving the Ogaen rebels and "their supporters" to death.

The Channel 4 News in UK video footage, however, tried to show us what Michael  Hess "missed" and the video footage clearly shows Ogaden is under famine for anyone who is not playing politics like that of Mr. Hess. Mothers with baby crying for food, a tall handsome man chest bone visibly seen, people travelling more than twenty miles to find water and  the carcasses of camels littered  the dry Ogaden desert that has not seen rain for the last three years.

Michel Hess is truly only worry about famine for "this year" because he is a politician to paint good pictures about his agency before he leaves for another job and do not want to have  stain on his resume for future maybe "Ambassadorial" position. His agency's failure is not only on hiding famine but also by working closely with unelected regime in Ethiopia that  declared war in Ogaden, invaded neighboring Somalia, killing thousands of innocent  people and drive millions as refugees surviving on his agency food assistance.

The more than one million tons of food delivered to Ethiopia so far has not stopped famine as Mr. Hess would like us to believe because other non political  agencies have come out to different conclusion. Meles Zenawi and his USA/UK partners  do not want our people to fight the root  cause of famine, unaccountable regime that rules our people by the barrel of gun supplemented by tons of wheat thrown on their faces to live for a day and do not worry about this year. For next year nobody knows including Mr. Hess..

Michel Hess' declaration that "there is no  famine this year in Ethiopia" is not different than that of George Bush who declared yesterday that "the USA economy is sound" amid the financial turmoil on wall street.